Best Surprise of the Month

Lucy McKenzie Book CoverI wasn’t in Canberra to receive the Aurealis Award for Best Children’s Book earlier this month. Many things kept me from going but not lack of desire. The Aurealis Award is a fabulous prize – an important award for fantasy, science fiction and speculative fiction that thinks outside the boundaries of space and time. This year’s shortlist was dauntingly impressive. Some of my favourite Australian authors of fantasy were featured on the list. I honestly thought that I didn’t have a hope against such a strong list.

So when Deb Stevens of Allen & Unwin asked me to provide her with an acceptance speech, just in case, I didn’t seriously believe that she would have the chance to read it out loud.

Here’s what Deb read out when The Four Seasons of Lucy McKenzie won the prize:

In a parallel universe, I am here tonight with you and I am amazed, honoured and very excited to accept this award. In that alternative reality I am squealing with glee so it’s probably just as well that Deb Stevens  is accepting on my behalf.

In the reality in which I’m currently trapped in suburban Melbourne, I will be both humbled and thrilled to discover I’ve been awarded this year’s Aurealis prize for children’s books when I spot the announcement on twitter, which I will be watching with passionate interest, rather than bated breath. I can honestly say I didn’t think I had a chance against such an outstanding shortlist.

I’m grateful to the organisers of the Aurealis awards and the judges for granting me this unexpected honour. I’d also like to thank Susannah Chambers and Sarah Brenan of Allen & Unwin for their editorial guidance and my aunts and great-aunts for the inspiration of their lives that spanned a century of change for young women. Time-slip is a genre that reminds you of the fragility and wonder of every moment of life. Though I cannot be here tonight, this moment, on this very special evening, is one that I will recreate in my imagination and for which I am enormously grateful. Thank you.

Kirsty Murray, April 5, 2014


Kirsty is an Australian author of books for children and young adults.

“Every adult was once a child and the child inside them never completely disappears.”

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